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AMC Hopes to Hit the Development Lottery Again With Period Football Drama

What is the hit-happy AMC cooking up next?

Here comes The Real All Americans! It’s a period piece, it’s a football show, it’s a racial-strife drama. It sounds very intense. Explains THR:

Based on Sally Jenkins’ book about the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Real All Americans chronicles the school’s storied football program created by U.S. cavalry officer Richard Henry Pratt, an abolitionist and early equal rights proponent who made a harrowing journey to the Dakota Territory in 1879 to recruit the school’s first students … Pratt’s football program had a stunning win-loss record (167-88-13) and produced a string of famous athletes and coaches – including Olympian Jim Thorpe and coach Glenn “Pop” Warner.

The adaptees are screenwriter Nicholas Meyer, who wrote The Human Stain and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and producer Harry J. Ufland, who has credits on The Last Temptation of Christ, Kirsten Dunst classic Crazy/Beautiful, and the video for Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” Hell of a pair of résumés, Nicholas Meyer and Harry J. Ufland. Also pretty cool: Tommy Lee Jones is in talks to direct the pilot. And as is usually the case with AMC — whose post-Mad Men surge is often credited to a particularly stingy development process — if Americans goes to pilot, it’ll almost definitely get picked up for a season run.

Looking at AMC’s scripted fare, you’ve got Mad Men and Breaking Bad, both of which are already in the canon. You’ve got The Walking Dead, which doesn’t get all that MM/BB critical respect, but is AMC’s biggest hit by far. You’ve got Hell on Wheels, which did well enough to get a second season, and The Killing, which … well, which was widely and passionately discussed! In all fairness, The Killing was a lot of fun for a while there, and its ratings were good enough to give it another try — a second season that will, thanks to the first season’s explosive non-ending, be monitored as closely as a Miley Cyrus nip slip.

What’s missing from the list? Ah, yes: the brief, confusing Rubicon, still the only post-Mad Men AMC show not to earn a sophomore pickup. To its credit, no one seemed to complain too loudly about how ripped off they felt after its final episode.